Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

The movie is good. But the">Red White and Royal Bluebook is oh, so much better.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Of course, you need to read it as a romance. Because it was clearly written by an American author without a clear insight into British politics, even though one of the main characters is a literal prince. So pick up the book, and read it with a purely romantic viewpoint, and I think you’ll love it.

The book is written from the perspective of Alex, the son of the American president. He met Henry, prince of England years ago, and is quietly obsessed with him and outwardly absolutely detests him. So every time they meet, it’s clear they don’t like each other. Until a scandal forces them to pretend to be friends to the public. They actually get to know each other, become friends, and start flirting over text like crazy for months. The next time they see each other, they kiss and then they start what is basically an illicit love affair. They want to keep their relationship private since Alex isn’t out as bisexual and neither is Henry as gay. They struggle with what this means for their countries, their parents, their futures. There is a lot of tortured back and forth until their secret is revealed in the press and they need to deal with the fall-out.

What I love is the use of mixed media. We see the text conversations between Alex and Henry, and even get a glimpse into their group chat with their friends and sisters. Then we also get to see the e-mails our suffering lovers write to each other. Not only do they fit perfectly with their characters (and are therefore written entirely different from one another), they also like to quote famous people’s love lines to their partners. It’s a treat to read!

Oh and by the way, did you know there is a Collector’s Edition of the book that features an extra chapter? Yes, you read that right! There is an epilogue, written from Henry’s perspective. If, like me, you don’t have that version, no worries. Our reader friend at Tumblr shared the chapter. I read it here.

Now, on to the movie. It was released on Prime early August of this year. It immediately became the most viewed movie on the platform worldwide. It features Taylor Zakhar Perez (from The Kissing Booth 2 and 2) and Nicholas Galitzine (from Cindrella and Purple Hearts) as the main characters. It also has Uma Thurman (from Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction) as Alex’s mother, the president.

It’s a shortened version of the book but I like how they turned it into a movie. Yes, they left out Alex’s sister June, clipped Pez’ and Nora’s roles and weirdly changed the queen into a king and skipped Henry’s mother altogether. They also changed the British royal family’s last name for some reason. But it’s a good movie in and of itself.

They also incorporate the texting into the movie in a great way. That is actually my favourite scene, when they go through their texting relationship. And the e-mails feature in some way as well, portrayed as a voice-over during non-speaking scenes. They made Alex a little less crude and American, and got rid of most of Henry’s mental problems. Alex is still an all American boy, and Henry is still a contained British heir. But they are muted down to the basics, which is normal to have to fit in a movie of an hour and a half.

Go watch it! (also Prime is like crazy cheap, as I just discovered)

Ah, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll know about the Cornetto scene. They have released it separately as an extra. You can watch it here on Instagram. Also, since social media is a part of the book (but not really of the movie exactly), they created Instagram accounts for the main characters. So you can actually follow Alex and Henry.

Happy reading and watching!

Loes M.

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